Center for Integrated Protein Science Munich

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Center for Integrated Protein Science Munich
EstablishedNovember 1st 2006
EndowmentEUR 45 million
ProvostThomas Carell (speaker of the board)
DirectorOliver Baron (CEO)
Administrative staff
ca. 800
Location, ,
Cips logo green 1224.jpg
Main building of CIPSM in Munich (center)

The Center for Integrated Protein Science Munich (CIPSM) is a cluster of excellence in sciences located in Munich. It is an association of research groups of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the Technical University of Munich, the Helmholtz Center Munich, and the Max Planck Institutes of biochemistry and neurobiology in Martinsried. Research at the center expands from isolated proteins up to proteins in living organisms applying methods of biophysics, biochemistry, medicine, and biology.


Proteins are as biological macromolecules a cornerstone of life. However, their functional importance and structural effects are not yet fully understood in every detail. Investigation of isolated proteins up to living organisms (e.g. zebra fish, Drosophilidae, Caenorhabditis elegans or escherichia coli bacteries), especially with regard to interactions, structural complexities (e.g. protein folding, structures of protein complexes, interactions between proteins and nucleic acids, and manipulation of protein functions) and neuro-degenerative diseases, promises to furnish basic knowledge of these macromolecules. This very knowledge could contribute to advances in biomedicine and biotechnologies.


Organigram of CIPSM

The cluster is divided into six main areas of research.

Main areas of research in CIPSM (coordinators in bold font):
Research Area Topic Principal Investigators Junior Groups Associate Professors
A Protein Biophysics Rief, Bräuchle, Zinth, Gaub Michaelis, Dietz Lamb, Hugel
B Protein Folding and Transport Buchner, Soll, Kiefhaber, Heesemann, Hartl Becker, Vothknecht Richter, Schliwa, Weinkauf, Winter
C Protein Structure and Networks Cramer, Sattler, Hopfner, Beckmann, Sattler, Kessler, Conti Baumeister, Wilson
D Protein Nucleic Acid Interactions Becker, Jung, Endres, Leonhardt, Eick Schotta Cremer, Hake, Imhoff, Storchowa
E Protein Engineering and Chemical Genetics Carell, Skerra, Langosch, Groll, Trauner, Sieber, Mann Antes Küster, Wester, Verhelst
F Protein Function and Dysfunction in vivo Haass, Konnerth, Biel, Götz, Misgeld Bonhoefer

Each research area (A-F) is being represented by two coordinators who, in cooperation with the executive board, decide on the appointment of new professorships and elect the executive board of four researchers and one member responsible for family and gender support. The main responsibilities of the board members are research, teaching and support of junior academic staff. The board members represent the interests of the cluster towards the directorate of the respective university. The speaker of the board and his deputy take special care of the supervision and recruitment of junior professorships. Research group leaders (principal and associate investigators) meet annually to decide on budget allocation. Leading the research group still is the individual task of the research group leader at own responsibility. Regular meetings between group leaders and coordinators ensure efficient guidance of the cluster. The speaker represents the cluster and thus negotiates with the universities participating in the cluster of excellence on matters like teaching as well as on financial and personal issues. Administration and supervision of financial endorsements of each fiscal year, personal recruitment, management of all cluster issues, procurement of larger tools, and organizing activities such as symposia, conferences and workshops (see Events and Conferences) are part of the job of the cluster CEO, who further takes care of applications and publicity work.

Gender Support Program[edit]

Female scientists of CIPSM are supported by a program called AFF (Ausschuss für Familien- und Frauenförderung; committee for family and gender support). The program was created to get more researchers with children and habilitated females into professorships or leading positions. The committee is being led by a member of the board who is especially responsible for family and gender support. The support program is intended to counter barriers in the academic career resulting from parental leave. For this purpose, junior researchers with child or children can be allocated a technical assistant for support of their research. Furthermore, a domestic aid can be granted on request. For researchers' children up to the age of three years, CIPSM runs its own day nursery. Additionally, a mentoring program was created to support successful employment of female scientists and symposia with high ranking female scientists should give researchers opportunities to obtain insight into careers, gain experiences and enhance scientific interaction.


Financial endorsements of CIPSM are provided by the Federal Republic of Germany, the states of Germany and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in the course of the German Universities Excellence Initiative and distributed orientated on demand.

Distribution of CIPSM financial endowments of fiscal year 2009; taken from official data

  A (10%)
  B (12%)
  C (12%)
  D (12%)
  E (13%)
  F (10%)
  Gender Support (5%)
  Management (4%)
  Indirect Costs TUM (6%)
  Indirect Costs LMU (11%)
  Other (5%)

Individual financial support of scientists of the cluster includes project-related funding of PhD and Postdoc positions, procurement of larger tools, financial support of events and conferences, and gender support.

Research highlights and achievements[edit]

The CIPSM cluster has been elected landmark in the German "country of ideas" initiative[1] honoring the achievements of CIPSM researchers, who have been awarded several prizes for their work conducted with CIPSM:

Furthermore, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research supports the cooperation "experimental and theoretical methods for dissecting the dynamics of epigenetic gene silencing in living cells" between the CIPSM groups Leonhardt and Schotta and the University of Heidelberg.

Events and conferences[edit]

  • Graduate School Life Science Munich (LSM): An international support program for extraordinary Diploma or Master absolvents in the field of anthropology, biochemistry, cellbiology, ecology, evolution, genetics, microbiology, plant sciences, systematics, and zoology including lectures, seminars and workshops.[9]
  • CIPSM-Harvard Young Scientists' Forum (YSF): An annual meeting on a CIPSM initiative for interdisciplinary exchange between PhD students and Postdocs of Harvard University and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.[10]
  • CIPSM gala in the Deutsches Museum on May 4, 2009 in course of the "country of ideas" initiative with lectures about current highlights of the cluster's protein research.[11]
  • Elmau Conference 2008 and Monastery Irsee Conference 2009: Conferences on current topics in protein research in cooperation with Bayer Schering Pharma AG.
  • CIPSM lecture of Prof. Martina Havenith in course of the Gender Support Program (2009).
  • Alpenforum 2009: CIPSM has been supporting the "Alpenforum" of the GDCh young scientists Munich since 2008. The forum is held annually in Oberammergau to give students and doctorands of chemistry and related sciences the chance to collect information on possible careers in chemistry, to get into contact with companies and to get to know interesting employers.[12]
  • FRAU 2.0 "frau & mutter & wissenschaftlerin wie geht das überhaupt?" (Woman 2.0 "woman & mother & scientist how can this work?" 2009): information event for students of sciences, especially chemistry, biology and pharmacy, on possible careers and perspectives for female scientists at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in course of the Gender Support Program.
  • CIPSM Trainees' Minisymposium: Lecture and discussion event at the Technical University of Munich on trends and novel developments in protein sciences.
  • Synthesefest: lecture event at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich on organic chemistry with international lecturers of science and industry.[13][14]
  • in course of the lecture series „Innovation Management and Global Challenges“ (November 2009 to January 2010), Dr. Wolfang Plischke, member of the Bayer AG board of management, has been invited to lecture and thus give master and PhD students insight into how their research might impact on the chemical industry.

Furthermore, the CIPSM cluster organized

  • the Chromatin Assembly and Inheritance of Functional States, 2nd Transregio 5 Symposium (2007),[15]
  • the European Cooperation in the Field of Scientific and Technical Research "COST Meeting" (2008),[16]
  • the EMBO Workshop "Gene Transduction in Yeast" (2008),[17]
  • the 16th Lecture Conference ORCHEM 2008 in cooperation with the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker and the Liebig-Vereinigung für Chemie,[18]
  • the 4th International Conference on the Hsp90 Chaperone Machine (2008).[19]

Science Comment[edit]

The project Science Comment[20] has been established in 2009 to comment objectively on and to discuss publications in well reputed scientific journals of chemistry, biology, pharmacy and medicine. This internet forum was intended to facilitate international communication of research results. The registered user can, referring to a certain publication, criticise or discuss this publication in public. Science Comment serves its purpose as data base for the quality assessment of a publicized result prior to its application. The possibility to check the feasibility of the result saves the users' time and resources.


  1. ^ CIPSM on the "country of ideas" official homepage[dead link]
  2. ^ Süddeutsche Zeitung, November 28th 2007, S. 54
  3. ^ Philip Morris research Prize 2007 at the homepage of the Philip Morris foundation Archived July 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Laudatio for the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2007 for Götz (pdf file)
  5. ^ News release of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft concerning the award of the 2008 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize
  6. ^ Report on the award ceremony of the Innovationspreis 2008 on the homepage of BioM
  7. ^ Binder Innovation Award 2008 on the homepage of Binder GmbH Archived April 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Press release of Leopoldina for the Schleiden Medal 2009[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ LSM official homepage
  10. ^ Report on the YSF 2009 on the "country of ideas" official homepage Archived July 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Information about the gala in course of the "country of ideas" initiative on the homepage of Deutsches Museum[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Archived 2010-02-15 at the Wayback Machine Report of the GDCh young scientists forum Munich on Alpenforum 2009 (pdf file)
  13. ^ "Paper, Pointen und Plakate"; Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 19th 2009, p. 6
  14. ^ "Program of Synthesefest 2009". Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2010-02-25.
  15. ^ Chromatin Assembly and Inheritance of Functional States, 2nd Transregio 5 Symposium, September 13th-15th 2007, Munich, Germany
  16. ^ European Cooperation in the Field of Scientific and Technical Research "COST Meeting", March 14th-15th 2008, Munich, Germany
  17. ^ Gene Transduction in Yeast, June 21st-26th 2008, Sant Feliu de Guixols, Spain
  18. ^ 16th Lecture Conference ORCHEM 2008, September 1st-3rd 2008, Weimar, Germany
  19. ^ 4th International Conference on the Hsp90 Chaperone Machine, October 2nd-6th 2008, Monastery Seeon, Germany
  20. ^ Homepage Science Comment

External links[edit]